The Man Who Inspired Me

This past week, I felt something I’ve been eager to feel for a long while.  There was a moment spoken by God.  It was a confirmation to follow through with my passion and to go forth with my cause for the Ironman event…raising funds to provide adults with hearing aids.  There was an older gentleman who was evidently kind-hearted with a sweet spirit.  He drove miles away to see my audiologist.  The following is a story I shared with my mom about the man who inspired me while sitting in the lobby of the clinic.

As I was waiting for my audiologist, I overheard her conversing with an older gentleman.  I pretended to continue reading my Positive Thinking book, but was actually tuned into the conversation.  I heard the audiologist say, "Mr. ???, we don't have batteries for these (showing him his hearing aids) anymore.  These are from 1999 and they quit making batteries for these hearing aids."  Then she proceeded to say that they will take a look at them to see if they can clean them or get them working.  She later comes back out and says, "We can't fix these. These are breaking...physically breaking."  I continue to listen as they discussed options.  In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out who the hearing aids are for.  It sounded to me like they were for the man’s wife.  

One of the options discussed was a microphone, like what I wore my first year here in grad school. The audiologist said, "She’ll wear the headphones and you’ll wear the microphone.  This one has a wire hooked to it so you can't go far, but at least you don't have to sit real close to her ear. There is a wireless set, but it's $2,000.  This one is only $260." The audiologist proceeded to ask the man to talk to his wife about it and see what she thinks.  

Then I overheard the man talking on the phone to his wife.  He sounded somewhat excited to tell her about this cool device.  I could tell he was a kind-spirited, sweet man...made me smile.  After the phone call, I could tell that the man was anxious, but still a little reluctant to purchase.  The audiologist again, suggested that he go home and talk about it with his wife.  

The man continued in a sweet conversation before he left, to tell her stories about this cherished woman.  He said that she was on her second round through reading the Bible, she's 101 years old and so on. I wanted to say, “I’ll buy her the hearing device!”  

Then it was time for my appointment.  As I was walking back, I questioned the audiologist about why she hadn’t offered new hearing aids for the man’s wife. Then she says, "It's his mother-n-law and she's in a nursing home so she doesn't get out."  My heart melted!  I told her that the man had inspired me so I’m now here for 2 reasons.  #1 to get a hearing test.  #2 to motivate me to help adults get hearing aids by fundraising for a cause through my Ironman event.  I think my audiologist was almost speechless.

That night, my husband and I went out to eat.  I told him this story without mentioning that I felt compelled to pay for the device.  To be honest, I thought it was too late.  HIs response was, "Why don't you call them tomorrow and tell them we would like to take care of the device for that gentleman?”  My heart melted...again! 


When I contacted my audiologist, I didn’t hear from her for a couple days.  It’s funny because I felt like I was waiting for a call back from a job interview.  I began to feel a bit paranoid wondering if I offended anyone or said something wrong.  But then, she responded to my message and was thrilled to hear that we’d be willing to pay for the device.  In fact, we didn’t pay as much as it was quoted.  I was relieved and elated!  She even asked if we wanted to put a note in the box.  So, we wrote the following: 

We hope your mother-in-law enjoys this listening device just as much as we enjoy sending you an opportunity for her to participate in family conversation or listening to music.

Sharing with you the greatness of God’s love…..John 3:16

The Cheerful Givers

As an occupational therapy student, moments like these makes you realize the importance of providing others with the ability to participate in the daily walks of life no matter how young or old.  We are a giving profession and want to remove the barriers so our clients can have the quality of life they deserve by empowering them to find their abilities and use them. 
My first time in the American Girl store, I was so excited to
see even young girls can buy hearing aids for their dolls. 

What does this story have to do with training for an Ironman? 
Let’s just say, this man confirmed the cause I wanted to increase awareness for young and old adults.  Generally, they have to pay out of pocket for these hearing aid devices that range from $5-10,000.  In fact, I had to get a new pair of hearing aids before we got married and spent some of my wedding savings to replace a pair of broken aids.  Adults over 65 can pay for a supplemental package that will assist with the costs, but again, you’re paying for the extras.  Hearing is a vital part of our daily lives and when we can’t hear, our quality of life diminishes.  This is the same for people who have vision or other sensory impairments.  At times, it can be dangerous.  I nearly went through an intersection at a green light when an ambulance drove through at high speeds.  The other cars that were stopped probably saved my life because I couldn’t understand why they were stopped at a green light.  I didn’t hear the sirens and definitely couldn’t see them coming from in between the buildings. 

This was the highlight of my week.  God finally gave me the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.  I often think of these things too late and was so thankful that not only my husband was on the same page, but that we gave with a cheerful heart.  

First day of Kindergarten and one of the
first in our public school with hearing aids. 

Quote of the day: Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.  ~ Alexander Graham Bell

Bible verse of the day:  "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."  ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7


  1. Enjoyed your story, Tiffany! You will be such an awesome, empathetic occupational therapist...the world needs more people like you!

    D. Miller

  2. This is such a wonderful story! I admire your positive spirit and desire to help others. You are a phenomenal role model for many.. especially me. WOW!


  3. Today I shared this story with a friend whose mother was concerned with the costs of hearing aids. As I looked up this story to send to my friend, I read it again.....and simultaneously cried and smiled.....again! I am so thankful for your relationship with God and your eagerness to allow Him to direct your life.
    Love, Mom

  4. I have been following your journey online for the last few months! I knew you were going to do great things with your life watching you grow up. You are a beautiful young women who has a tremendous heart, positive outlook, and a wonderful relationship with God! I admire you and look forward to reading more about your amazing journey! Best of luck!
    Mickie McManamon

  5. Thinking of you during the final month of your training. . . a test of physical endurance difficult for most of us to comprehend . . . 140.6 miles! Your boundless compassion, empathy, and energy are truly inspirational.
    Love, Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Roger


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